The Tampa Bay Rays will bolster an already potent lineup this afternoon by activating catcher Wilson Ramos from the 60-day DL.
Roster announcement for tomorrow: #Rays will activate C Wilson Ramos. C Derek Norris will be DFA.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 24, 2017
To clear space on the roster for Ramos, the Rays announced they will designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment.
Ramos signed an incentive-laden deal with Tampa Bay last December, in spite of a right knee injury that he suffered while playing for the Nationals. The team knew he would miss the bulk of the first half while completing the rehabilitation of a torn ACL.
I feel so comfortable, really good moving behind the plate, Ramos told the Tampa Bay Times. Right now I feel very good and ready to play, ready to get activated.
If Ramos can produce anything close to what he did last season — slashing .307 BA/.354 OBP/.496 SLG/.850 OPS with 22 home runs in 523 plate appearances — he’ll bolster a potent lineup that’s already on pace to hit 252 homers and score 800 runs. With Tampa Bay in a fairly solid position to contend for a postseason berth, Ramos may deliver a significant boost in advance of the trade deadline, allowing the Rays to instead look for relief help.
Norris, 28, was added just before the start of the season after he was released by the Nationals. And while he helped to bridge the gap between the start of the season and the return of Ramos, he struggled both at and behind the plate (six passed balls, six errors).
To his credit, Norris ended his tenure with the Rays with a bang, by hitting a second inning double and his ninth homer in last night’s 15-5 blowout against the Orioles, yet that capped a 9-for-63 skid at the plate. Overall, Norris has managed just a .188 BA/.242 OBP/.347 SLG/.769 OPS line in 198 plate appearances on the season. Still, given his past success at the plate and pitch-framing reputation, he figures to draw plenty of interest elsewhere.
In doing so, Jesus Sucre will stay aboard as the backup catcher, as he gives the team better defense overall, can shut down the running game, hits well with runners in scoring position and works well with the Rays’ pitching staff. Per Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) Sucre is likely to get the bulk of catching duties initially until the Rays are comfortable playing Ramos behind the plate for multiple games.
Matt Duffy update
Matt Duffy, who has yet to complete the rehab assignment he started with the Class-A Charlotte Stone Crabs in early May, traveled to Charlotte N.C. this week for an examination by Dr. Bob Anderson — the orthopedic surgeon who operated on Duffy’s heal on September 9, 2016. Anderson removed a pea-sized calcium deposit that is thought to be the root of Duffy’s chronic irritation.
We’re hoping that that is what’s been causing all the irritation, Cash said, because it was taken right from the spot where he gets most of this pain.
Cash told the Tampa Bay Times that Duffy will resume his baseball activities once his stitches heal. Duffy missed all of spring training because of the lingering issue, though it’s thought the team might be able to accelerate the shortstop’s return, since he has been working out with the team at Tropicana Field.
We’re being cautiously optimistic about that, Cash said.
Note: we are still awaiting the news of the return of Brad Boxberger. Once that breaks I will either update this piece, or write a different one.